10 Types of Engineering Jobs (with Average Salaries and Tips)

Updated 23 August 2023

Engineering is the application of scientific principles and methods to design, create and improve structures, machines, materials, systems and processes. It combines creativity and technical expertise to solve challenges, enhance the quality of life and advance the boundaries of human knowledge. Exploring some careers in this scientific field can help you identify the responsibilities and specialisations that may suit your character and aspirations. In this article, we define engineering jobs, outline 10 types of engineering jobs and provide some tips for applying to these roles.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

What are engineering jobs?

Engineering jobs encompass a broad range of disciplines and industries, such as civil, electrical, mechanical, aerospace, biomedical and software engineering. Engineers across many industries typically design, analyse and develop innovative solutions to complex issues, ensuring the safety, efficiency and sustainability of the systems and technologies with which they work. Engineers often collaborate with other experts such as architects, scientists and project managers to bring ideas from conception to completion. They contribute substantially to advancing society, promoting economic growth and maintaining a high standard of living for all.

Related: 10 Highest Paying Engineering Jobs

10 types of engineering jobs

Below are 10 types of engineering jobs, along with their national average salaries and primary duties:

1. Biomedical engineer

National average salary: $87,882 per year

Primary duties: Biomedical engineers combine engineering principles with medical and biological sciences to design and develop equipment, devices and systems that improve healthcare outcomes. Their primary responsibilities may include designing medical devices, developing artificial organs, creating diagnostic tools and optimising medical imaging systems. Biomedical engineers may work in hospitals, research institutions, medical device manufacturing companies and government agencies.

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Related: Everything You Need to Know about Biomedical Engineering

2. Chemical engineer

National average salary: $88,082 per year

Primary duties: Chemical engineers apply principles of chemistry, physics and mathematics to develop efficient and sustainable processes for producing chemicals, fuels and pharmaceuticals and for varying chemical products. Primary responsibilities can include designing, implementing and optimising chemical processes, conducting research, developing safety protocols and ensuring environmental compliance of products. Chemical engineers typically find employment in industries such as petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, food processing and environmental consulting.

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Related: How to Become a Chemical Engineer (with Duties and Skills)

3. Materials engineer

National average salary: $92,268 per year

Primary duties: Materials engineers study, develop and test materials for use in various applications, such as electronics, aerospace and motor vehicles industries. Their duties often include selecting and optimising materials based on performance, cost and environmental factors. They also conduct research to improve existing materials or create new ones and ensure quality control. Materials engineers may work for manufacturing companies, research institutions and government agencies.

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Related: What Do Materials Engineers Do? (With Key Skills and Salaries)

4. Electrical engineer

National average salary: $94,505 per year

Primary duties: Electrical engineers design, develop and maintain electrical systems and components. These might include power generation, transmission and distribution networks, electronic devices and control systems. Their main responsibilities may include designing circuits and system models, prototyping and testing, and ensuring safety and reliability for individuals who use these systems and components. Electrical engineers typically gain employment in industries such as utilities, electronics, telecommunications and motor vehicles.

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Related: Electrical and Electronic Engineering Degree (with Careers)

5. Aeronautical engineer

National average salary: $94,558 per year

Primary duties: Aeronautical engineers specialise in the design, development and testing of aircraft, spacecraft and various airborne systems. Their main duties involve aerodynamic analysis, structural design, propulsion system development and avionics integration. An aeronautical engineer typically ensures aerospace designs comply with strict safety and reliability regulations, ensuring the safety of passengers and pilots. They may find employment with aerospace manufacturers, airlines, research institutions and government agencies.

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Related: How to Write an Aerospace Engineer Resume (plus Example)

6. Process engineer

National average salary: $98,117 per year

Primary duties: Process engineers focus on optimising manufacturing processes and production lines to enhance efficiency, quality and safety. Their primary responsibilities usually include designing, implementing and monitoring process improvements, troubleshooting equipment and systems, conducting root cause analyses and developing standard operating procedures. A process engineer may also collaborate with cross-functional teams to ensure the effective integration of new processes, allowing production teams to adapt to changing procedures without decreasing productivity and quality. Process engineers may gain employment in any industry involving extensive processes, such as chemical, pharmaceutical, petrochemical, food processing and electronics manufacturing industries.

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7. Software engineer

National average salary: $104,599 per year

Primary duties: Software engineers develop and maintain software applications and systems, ensuring their functionality, reliability and efficiency. They typically write and test code, debug software, conduct system analysis, create technical documentation and collaborate with other developers. A software engineer might specialise in areas such as front-end development, back-end development or full-stack engineering. They typically work in technology companies, software development firms and various industries that rely on software solutions, including finance, healthcare and entertainment.

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Related: Software Engineer vs Developer (with Responsibilities)

8. Civil engineer

National average salary: $109,076 per year

Primary duties: Civil engineers oversee the construction and maintenance of infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, buildings and water supply systems. Their primary responsibilities usually include conducting feasibility studies, creating design plans, managing construction projects, ensuring compliance with regulations and supervising on-site activities. Civil engineers may collaborate with other experts, including architects and urban planners, to create an effective infrastructure for communities. They may gain employment with engineering consulting firms, construction companies and government agencies.

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  • What Is a Civil Engineer? And How to Become One

  • 7 Civil Engineering Careers (Plus Duties and Salary)

9. Combat engineer

National average salary: $109,266 per year

Primary duties: Combat engineers are a unique type of engineer, as they gain employment with the Australian Defence Force (ADF). They usually provide engineering support to military operations by designing, constructing and maintaining infrastructure and fortifications. Primary responsibilities include building and repairing bridges, roads and airfields, clearing obstacles, neutralising mines and explosives and constructing defensive structures. Combat engineers also participate in humanitarian missions, such as disaster relief and infrastructure reconstruction. While serving in the ADF, they may work in various fields, including combat zones, peacekeeping operations and domestic military installations.

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Related: How to Become an Army Officer in 10 Steps (with Skills List)

10. Mechanical engineer

National average salary: $109,558 per year

Primary duties: Mechanical engineers design, develop and maintain mechanical systems and components, such as engines, machines and vehicles. They often conduct research, create prototypes, perform simulations, optimise designs for performance and efficiency and ensure safety and reliability. Mechanical engineers collaborate with other engineers and specialists to develop innovative solutions for complex mechanical issues. They typically find employment in a diverse range of industries, including motor vehicles, aerospace, manufacturing, energy and robotics.

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Tips for applying for engineering jobs

Below, you can review several tips to consider when applying for an engineering job:

Write an engaging resume

One of the key steps in applying for an engineering role is to ensure you have an engaging and concise resume. An excellent resume with clear formatting and readability can showcase your skills, experience and education effectively. You can create an engaging resume in several ways, but having a clear and concise format, highlighting your achievements, incorporating industry-specific keywords and customising the content to the specific job requirements can usually help you produce an excellent document. This can allow you to gain and maintain the hiring manager's attention.

Showcase your technical expertise

Showcasing technical expertise is usually necessary as an aspiring engineer, as it demonstrates your ability to solve complex challenges and contribute to the development of innovative solutions. Showcase your technical knowledge by detailing relevant skills and certifications, discussing projects you've completed and providing quantitative evidence of your accomplishments. Including a portfolio of prior engineering projects with your job application can further demonstrate your capabilities and provide proof of your practical expertise.

Prove your ability to operate in team environments

Proving your teamwork abilities is usually necessary when applying for an engineering job, as many engineering projects require collaboration with diverse teams to achieve success. Demonstrate your teamwork skills by discussing experiences in group projects, highlighting your roles and contributions and emphasising your ability to communicate effectively with team members. Your resume, cover letter and answers to interview questions can typically provide you with enough opportunities to discuss your teamwork and collaboration skills in depth.

Prepare for a job interview

A key step in the recruitment process for becoming an engineer is a job interview. Preparing for this step can help you effectively communicate your skills, experience and passion for the engineering field. It might also demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to the role. To prepare for a job interview, research the organisation and its projects, practise answering common engineering interview questions and think of specific examples that demonstrate your abilities.

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